Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Problem with Conservatism...

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny

Today's conservatives often line up behind Ayn Rand's legacy and use her as the shining example of that which they profess to believe. Using her strong support of capitalism she has become a political tool many republicans use in a disingenuous ploy to further their crony capitalism.

Liberals have typically held very low opinions of Ayn Rand, in fact she was often reviled by many liberals of her day, as well as today's contemporary progressives. This of course is due, at least in part, to liberals tendency to believe in, and support a growing statism.

Rand was, above all else fiercely individualistic. She held that Aristotle, the father of reason was arguably the worlds greatest philosopher. And she viewed reason as the only absolute. While understanding the United States of America's system as devised and implemented by our founder's was imperfect, she nonetheless saw it as the best and most just system the world had ever seen.

In a nutshell Ayn Rand could, and should be understood from the context of true classical liberalism.

My purpose today is certainly not to judge, or advocate Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. Rather it is to clarify her beliefs with respect to the conservative movement. The video being presented was done in the 1960's. While viewing it today I was struck by the accuracy of her criticisms, particularly with respect to contemporary conservatives (republicans). Her criticism of liberals have validity as well.

Growth often comes from questioning, and challenging the paradigms one hold as truth. Rand, if nothing else seems to have understood the fallacies inherent in conservatism during her life. These same issues plague the conservative movement today. Perhaps more so than ever.

For anyone interested in learning more about Ayn Rand, her philosophy and writings here is a good source.

Via: Memeorandum

Footnote: It is likely Ayn Rand, of the four remaining republican candidates hoping to get the opportunity to unset President Obama, would find only Ron Paul as plausible. Even given that she would not find him ideal (perfect). Any more than I or other rational supporters do.


  1. Any movement, as it strays from the path of purity, will grow contradictions. The GOP's problem today is that it is not just self-contradictory, it has no core beliefs.

    Ayn Rand has brought the free market message to millions through her novels, but libertarianism and conservatism have only a little overlap.

    People are looking for solutions, and I think good ideas, wherever they come from trump ideology for those looking for answers, which is why you see so many of us with a patchwork of beliefs.

  2. Conservatism as a movement has never been pure. It should have identified with, and remained true to classical liberal principles. But I suppose As Rand points out "otherly" things became their fixation and they gave up the realm of idea's and rational cognitive thought.

  3. Ayn Rand, in this video, is no more true to classical liberalism than the conservatives she criticizes.

    in fact it reveals her atheist bias against religion in a very subtle way.

    1. While I respect your opinion Griper, in this issue and case you entirely miss the point. IMO...

  4. First, I guess I'd caution against equating conservatives and Republicans. Conservatives aren't crony capitalists, but unfortunately many Republicans are.

    My opinion of Ayn Rand is similar to my opinion of Ron Paul: I agree with a lot of what they say, but some of what they say is just crazy.

    Before I knew anything about Rand, in the days of the 2000 election, I had a boss who told me she once had a "Who is John Galt" bumper sticker. Turns out she was a Gore voter and a bit of a loon, but apparently it's not impossible for Democrats to identify with Ayn Rand.

    Where I most identify is in Rand's views of individualism and capitalism. In these days of Obama, it's tempting to want to fly away with John Galt.

    1. Rand is complex. On balance she is rational, objective, and unrelenting in her positions. On the first two I heartily approve.

      I essentially am in agreement with your statements. That is why I can't understand Goldwater as a republican. But I suppose in his time they were the closet thing to conservative. Today the majority are loons.

      Having read most everything Rand wrote I have yet to find a more rational and objective philosophy, all things considered.

    2. Of course HR, Goldwater was actually very closely in agreement with the classical liberals who gave us our system of governance and the constitution. Those who pass themselves off today are really neo-cons that are as far removed from the founding principals as one can get.

  5. RN.
    you stated the vase and issue yourself in these words:
    "In a nutshell Ayn Rand could, and should be understood from the context of true classical liberalism."
    so, how could I be missing the point?

    1. And I stand by those words Gripper. I will respectfully disagree with you're statement.

  6. A real point of confusion here, I think, is that a lot of people on the left try to equate pro-capitalism with pro-business/corporation. They're completely different, in my opinion. I mean, yeah, there are winners and losers in a free-market economy but I think that if you examine it closely, it's at the intersection of big business and big government (you could probably throw big labor in there, too, and I wouldn't argue) where a lot of this crony capitalism (exacerbated, of course, by the whole revolving door of lobbying and "serving"), "too big to fail", and monopolizing takes place. Freedom isn't always the enemy people need to know....Good post, Les!

    1. Thank you Will. You make very valid and reasonable arguments.

  7. Les,
    Classical Liberalists did not replace religious faith with the use of reason or logic as Ms. Rand would have you believe. They saw them as being compatable and neccesary.

    what they did do is replace the "deterministic" mindset of government with a government of a "free will" mindset.

    in other words, they never rejected religious faith. they only rejected the religious concept of the "divine right of kings to rule"

    these are two separate issues. and the rejection of the one does not mean the rejection of the other. and only an atheist would promote them as being the same issue.

    1. Until such time as you have read and studied the work of Ayn Rand there is little to no point in discussing this issue.

      I'll leave it at this, the classical liberal founders used reason and logic in drafting our system of governance and the constitution. The document was drafted by men using logic, reason, and recognizing individualism.

      If you wish to invoke the mystical be my guest. Again you miss the entire point of this post.

    2. In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. It is easier to acquire wealth and power by this combination than by deserving them, and to effect this, they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer engine for their purposes.
      -- Thomas Jefferson, to Horatio G Spafford, March 17, 1814

      Take it away Griper, there's more from whence that came...


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